Movies & TV / Columns

Marvel vs. DC: Whose Supervillains Are Better?

October 30, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Marvel DC Villains

I’m Steve Gustafson and thanks for stopping by. If you enjoy reading or discussing anything comic book related, you’ve come to the right place. I throw out a subject, you comment below. Easy. Let’s get started. 

Previously on…

Last time we discussed our Favorite Joker Stories. Here’s what some of you had to say:

Michael L: “There is a pretty good one-shot story in the Superman run where Joker poisons Lois, and the only cure is within him, but to obtain the poison, Superman has to kill Joker. Of course, it turns out to be a lie, as Lois gets better naturally, but it drives a wedge between Superman and Lois.

And although it isn’t exclusively a Joker story, the ending to the No Mans Land series, where Sarah Gordan sacrifices herself to save several dozen babies from Joker was also great. Particularly touching was Jim Gordon’s reaction, and Batman stepping aside to let Gordon have his vengeance on Joker if he wanted it.”

Anthony Petrillo: “Mad Love should be in there too”

El Atomico: “Oh man, it’s gotta be Killing Joke. I’ve mentioned many times here how I thought the Joker was a loser until I read that, then I thought he was sinister and frightening, and badass. As for Death in the Family, I liked it, even though I was cheering for Jason to live. I even called that stupid hotline! The ending was a little lacking, though, with Joker being a token Middle Eastern villain and Superman swooping in to save the day.”

Hardaway1: “To me, the best Joker is in “The Dark Knight Returns””

Tayo Jones: “Superman volume 2 issue 9 has a great Joker story. Joker goes to Metropolis to wreak havoc and after Superman catches him, he is asked why he came to Metropolis in the first place. His answer: ‘Why not?’ That quote sums up Joker perfectly.”

Steed: “The Killing Joke and Death in the Family truly show how dark, psychotic and relentless he could be when I read those as a child just before the 1989 film came out.”

Meltzerdriver18: “Pretty good list. Agree for the most part. Joker is a very interesting character a very good villain. My only issue with the joker is that he overshadows other great villains. Joker is good but imo there are other villains that just as good or better like black mask, scarecrow, two face, clay face and others.
Almost stopped being a joker fan when he stole the spotlight (overshadowed) from other great villains in the Arkham series. I hated the joker during the Arkham origins game. Stole the spotlight
Just my thoughts”

DerekScott: “Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on a Serious Earth, by Grant Morrison. Reportedly (not sure if it’s true) an influence on Heath Ledger’s performance (along with Killing Joke), it told the story of Joker taking over the Asylum with one demand – Batman must spend one night there. Essentially Joker’s goal is to show Batman that he’s just as crazy as those he fights.

The interesting thing is an off-hand explanation from a doctor as to WHY the Joker is the way he is. This was 1989, before our society really started to get a handle on ADHD, but the doctor basically said that he has no way to filter and process everything coming to his brain, everything is just constantly hitting him. The doctor says that’s why as things get more chaotic, his insanity intensifies.”

The Infraggable Krunk: “I always liked The Joker’s Millions (which was also adapted into an episode of BTAS), where a rival mob boss gets revenge on the Joker from beyond the grave.”

Reginald Fisterbottom: “Two moments that defined and solidified my love for the Joker….

Detective Comics #475-476: “The Laughing Fish” (Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin) has my favorite Joker entrance of all time. He appears with laughter literally (as Rogers drew it) swirling around him. The Gotham Patent Officer exclaims, “Good Lord!” The Joker spins around and responds, “Where?!?”

Batman #321: “Dreadful Birthday, Dear Joker” (Len Wein, Walt Simonson and Dick Giordano) makes clear the risks one takes being one of Joker’s henchmen. Unlike the rest of his goons, Sidney doesn’t think the Joker is very funny. The Clown Prince of Crime pulls a ridiculously large handgun on him. As Sidney begs for his life, the Joker fires and a “BANG!” flag pops from the barrel. Sidney, no doubt urinating himself, is greatly relieved!

Too bad for ol’ Sid that it was a spear gun.”

Too many great comments to share. Go back and see for yourself. Also, as always, thanks for the input!

This week we discuss…

Marvel Supervillains vs DC Supervilains

October has been a month where we talked about the darker side of comic books so let’s wrap it up with the best of the baddies! I thought it would be a nice wrap up to compare the supervillains from Marvel against the evil doers of DC. A superhero is only as good as his rogue gallery but who gives us a better lineup: DC or Marvel?

I almost boiled this down to who has better rogues: Spider-Man or Batman as they’ve got the best baddies from their respective comic book universes. Spidey can brag about the Green Goblin, the Lizard, Dr. Octopus, Sandman, Venom, Electro, the Rhino, Mysterio, and the Vulture. I could even throw Kingpin in the mix. Even his b-level guys are entertaining like Hobgoblin, Carnage, Shocker, Kraven, and a host of others. His gallery is filled with opportunity and a mid-level supervillain could easily join the big leagues if given a good enough storyline.

Which is just like Batman’s. The Joker, the Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Catwoman, Two-Face, the Riddler, Scarecrow, Ra’s al-Ghul, Clayface, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn. That’s a top notch crew, to be sure.

So how does the rest of the supervillains stack up? Marvel has plenty of heavy hitters to stack up. Dark Phoenix, Thanos, and Apocalypse come off as an unbeatable combo. Add in Loki, Dr. Doom, and Magneto, and I think you have your winner right there.

But DC can answer back with Darkseid, Doomsday, and Anti-Monitor. When it comes to brains, how can you miss with Brainiac, Ozymandias, and Lex Luthor?

Sprinkle in Red Skull, Ultron, and Bullseye for Marvel and you can counter with Sinestro, Reverse Flash, and Deathstroke.

I could go on and list a host of others but I think they match up pretty well. It comes down to what type of villain you prefer. I’m more of a street-level guy over cosmic baddies. I prefer supervillain teams over one-on-one. I think DC has better supervillain teams but give Marvel the edge when it comes to the best solo supervillain. On the flip of that, I think Batman has a better rogues gallery over Spider-Man.

What about you? Who has the better supervillains: DC or Marvel?

That’s all the time I have. Check out our Comic Book Reviews tomorrow and see you next week!